The Boy With the Pink Balloon

by The Momma on January 30, 2012

So one of the things that happened at the birthday party we attended last week was sort of interesting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

The party room was minimally decorated, but there were balloons–enough for all the kids and a few to spare. There were mostly pink, a few purple, and a few blue balloons, which made some sense in a “typical” kind of way, because there were mostly girls at the party, with only a handful of boys.  So the party place put out the colors accordingly.

The Noodle started off with a blue balloon, like the other boys, but he let it go at one point to eat his cake. When he realized it was gone, he looked up at the ceiling filled with balloons, pointed, and said:

“Peek Bawoon Mommy! Peek Bawoon!!”

Yup, he wanted a pink balloon.

I wasn’t actually surprised, he’s been on a pink kick lately. He wants the pink vitamin, he wants the pink juice, he calls orange pink half the time. So it not only didn’t surprise me, I gladly handed him the pink balloon, which made his face light up in that awesome toddler way.

But that’s not really the interesting part of my story. The interesting part happened a few minutes later. See, one of the other moms saw the Noodle had a pink balloon. And she saw a blue balloon near her. And she brought the blue balloon over and offered it to the Noodle. “Does he want this one instead?”

The Daddy and I just chuckled, and said, “Oh no, he’s actually thrilled with the pink one. But thank you!”

Here’s the thing. I’m in no way upset at that other mom–it was a sweet gesture, and I really hope she didn’t feel like we were pushing her away. But I did wonder if she thought it was strange that my little boy wanted the pink balloon more than the blue one. And then I got a little annoyed with myself for wondering. Because I can see why the kid loves pink. In his eyes, it’s the color of his favorite vitamin, and the color of some of his favorite candy, and the color of juice. It’s pretty and bright and vibrant and fun. He hasn’t reached the stage where he thinks pink is for girls, blue is for boys. He likes pink for some things (and on some days) and he likes blue for others (and on others).

My kid has more than his fair share of blue stuff, of boy stuff, of the typical gender specific stuff that seems so inherent in everything kids do these days. He has cars and trucks, trains and rockets, and, yes, plenty of blue. But he also has a lot MORE gender neutral stuff–blocks and art supplies and stuffed animals and puzzles and books and green and white and yellow and orange and brown and red. And yes, pink. We try to provide him with stuff that will keep him entertained and will keep him occupied and will make him happy. If that’s blue cars, great. If that’s pink balloons, great.

But I always do wonder in social settings, what other people do/think. It bothers me that I wonder, but I do. So tell me, would you have let your little boy have a pink balloon? Would you look askance at a boy with a pink balloon?

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

shasta January 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I get the concern with gender/color (both for and against gender-specific stuff), but I honestly don’t think it matters for this age. Does the Noodle’s desire to sport a pink balloon means he’s questioning his identity? Probably not. As you mentioned, he’s just on a pink kick.

Reply

clara January 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I had almost exactly the same experience at my son’s preschool commencement ceremony. The little one, who was 2.5 at the time, got pink and everyone tittered. Seriously people?

I have no time for any of that BS. The way to start breaking down stupid stereotypes is by raising the next generation to shun stupid stereotypes. So. That’s where I stand on that. However, as to your question about people judging you, yeah. Probably they are. Eff ‘em. There are a lot (A LOT) of people who think that boys = blue and if boys touch anything pink they will turn into girlyboys. (Which is the worst thing EVER right? Don’t get me started on that) Even the people you think are cool, suddenly are like, oh, can he have the PINK cup? Because I’m all out of cups? Uh yeah. He can drink milk out of a pink cup. His balls won’t fall off.
/endrant

Reply

Alexis January 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

“His balls won’t fall off.” This. This is perfection.

Reply

Reading (and chickens) January 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

Exactly. The four year old was in love with pink for the longest time and he had pink crocs and got SO MUCH SHIT FROM OTHER KIDS about it. Argh.

Reply

The Daddy February 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Hear Hear.

And for what it’s worth, the Daddy can totally and has before ROCKED a pink shirt. I could honestly go on about this for days, but will spare everyone my rage about this issue for a future post.

Maybe.

Reply

Alexis January 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Maybe my perception is skewed because I have two girls, and in some ways the parameters of “gender specific” are more fluid, but I don’t think I would even notice what color balloon a kid had. However, I know that *people* really do care about such things. Why? I am not sure. The thing I do find so peculiar is that double standard that if a girl wants a train then we are all so “progressive” but if a boy wants a pink carriage for his teddy bear that is “odd.” That seems like a crock to me. So in conclusion, yeah, I bet *people* do notice and feel certain ways about it, but really, their loss for forcing themselves into such strict categories. I say we all rock the balloon we want.

Reply

HipMamaB January 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm

While the comment sounds gender specific, I doubt you have the book Pinkalicious, where she says that pink is perfect and even her brother likes pink… actually, those lines may have been in Purplicious… I digress. Pink is pretty. Who cares. And if he turns out gay? Once again who cares?

Reply

The Daddy February 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Well spoken.

I think about the idea or hypothetical question of “what if he turns out gay?” and my favorite response so far is that my real goal for the child is to be happy. Gay, straight, whatever, I’m glad he’s healthy and happy. As long as that continues, I could care less what his sexual persuasion ends up being.

Until then (even after?) pink remains an awesome color, and when you think about it, much more interesting than blue. Maybe that’s the artist Dad in me talking though.

Reply

Cloud January 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I’ll bet you can guess what I think! Like @Alexis, I come at it from the standpoint of having two girls. But also of being a woman in a heavily male dominated field, and having had to navigate through a bunch of gender assumptions throughout my life. I am fed up with people who think boys can’t like pink AND people who think that a girl who likes princesses is not going to go on to kick the world’s ass some day. I want to get to a point where everyone can be into whatever they want, without any assumptions that because you like X, you must hate Y or what not.

But I won’t rant on and on about that here. I do enough of that on my own blog!

Reply

Christa the BabbyMama February 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would even care about that. Or notice. Or then care and notice and say something. Did she think you were forcing the pink one on him?

Reply

Jason Deeds February 2, 2012 at 8:57 am

For out oldest it’s Function over color. He loves things that are pink as long as they serve a purpose. He has time and time again picked things that are not gender colors strictly because they will serve his purpose better.

http://domesticdeeds.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/my-son-likes-pink/

Reply

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: